Finland’s national investment company Solidium took a 3.3-percent stake in Nokia valued at the equivalent of $1.04 billion over the first quarter of 2018 in order to strengthen its influence at the country’s largest firm and consequently weaken its mostly foreign ownership. Solidium Chief Executive Officer Antti Makinen told Reuters the firm isn’t planning on pursuing a larger stake in Nokia in the immediate future and won’t be seeking a board seat at the tech giant’s next annual shareholder meeting scheduled to take place in May. Mr. Makinen described the move as a response to the fact that Nokia’s domestic ownership “has [traditionally] been rather thin,” adding that Solidium may end up seeking a board seat at the network equipment manufacturer in the future even though it isn’t looking to press for one this spring.
Solidium sold some of its shares of Swedish telecom giant Telia and a number of other firms to fund its investment in Nokia. The move itself is understood to be Solidium’s own bet and hasn’t in any way been impacted by Helsinki, as recently suggested by Finnish economy minister Mika Lintila. Nokia is presently largely focused on the telecommunications segment and is eagerly awaiting the widespread adoption of 5G which drove some of its major investments that are yet to pay off. For the time being, the company’s reliance on its licensing division is increasing, as revealed by its recent financial reports. Contemporary Nokia smartphones running Android are designed and sold by HMD Global which was founded by former Nokia employees but the Finnish tech giant has no investment in the firm and only benefits from their licensing agreement.
Being Finland’s largest company, Nokia’s decline also impacted the economy of the Nordic country which is only now experiencing some growth following years of stagnation. Nokia’s mobile business effectively crumbled following its decision to pursue Symbian instead of Android and its 2014 sale to Microsoft didn’t manage to revitalize its operations, with the Redmond, Washington-based firm eventually cutting thousands of Finnish jobs. Domestic positions presently account for just over six-percent of Nokia’s global workforce that’s nearly 103,000 strong, according to the company’s recent estimates.